Going in reverse can have different meanings for different people. For some it might give the connotation that all the progress that has been made is headed in the wrong directions. For others it might be just that, going backwards. It is not hard to imagine going in reserve. However this not what is intended here. In fact it is something a different. To go in reverse I would like you to imagine going somewhere to the same location in the opposite direction. Okay so how does that work.
Most every morning my wife and I walk about three miles. We have a specific route we take around our neighborhood. We usually leave the house, go down the driveway and turn left. As we round the bend there are two street that we call the “wiggies”. Okay that is a made up word. We basically walk around the block and continue our walk on the street we began our original walk. When we reach the other section of our neighborhood there are four blocks we call the “wogs”. We follow the same path day in and day out. Depending on the time we have we can shorten or lengthen our walks and still know how many miles we put in. Sounds BORING doesn’t it.
One day we decided to change the direction of the path. We did the “wigs” but did the “wogs” in the opposite direction. It gave a different perspective of the houses we passed. As we walked I noticed on one of the garage doors a Baltimore Raven football team symbol. I had not noticed it before because of the way the garage faced. As we continued our walk we began to notice different things. We noticed the color of the doors on a house for the first time. Our observations of the same neighborhoods changed. It gave us new insights. It wasn’t that anything changed about the neighborhood, we just learned more from our observation.
As in our Christian walk sometimes our daily walk can become just as routine. It is not intentional but it does happen. We see the same people, we do the same thing, we become “rote” in our worship, in our reading, in our relationship with Jesus and we become more complacent. It is during this time we need to reflect and reassess where we are and what we are doing. Our complacency occurs because we are looking for something to generate excitement, to stimulate our senses, to challenge us more. What we miss is who we are and how we are created.
Our worship and relationship with God is not about what we gain rather it is about what we give and why we give. Jonathan R. Wilson in his book Why Church Matters sums it up this way: “[the gospel] who we are made to be and to be that which we are made to be…it is not about something we receive; not something we create but something for which we are created.” It is recognizing it is not about being individualistic Christians but an individual in the body of Christ, His Church. It is about using the gifts that God has created in us and provided not for our own benefit but the body of believers.
When we look at who created us, we come to worship God in a new and different way. No longer does it become ‘rote’, it becomes exciting knowing He created us for His glory not ours. We find our joy in the community and believers and in the encouragement of our part doing the work He asks us to do, not just what we want to do.
A good example of this is in the Apostle Paul’s letter to Philemon ” 4 When I remember you in my prayers, I always thank my God 5 because I hear of your love for all the saints and your faith toward the Lord Jesus. 6 I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective when you perceive all the good that we may do for Christ.”
Serving our Lord is not about our convenience or our personal and individualistic mission. Serving our LORD is about being a part of a community of believers, being active in the body of believer within which we are in community, and about what He created us to do for His glory.
Sometimes Going in Reverse is good. It gives a new perspective in our ministy and what He created us to do by being a part of the His body, the Church.